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Full text of "A history of Persia"

306                  HISTORY OF PERSIA                 CHAP.
the Cape of Good  Hope  opened  a  way  for   western
nations to invade India by its sea gates.
The dominant population of this interesting land is
termed Pathan, or cc Speakers of Pashtu,"I towards the
borders of India, and in the west Afghan, or Aoghan, a
word the derivation of which is obscure. Longworth
Dames points out that Pathan is the real name, and that
the term Afghan, first applied by foreigners, appears to
be of literary origin ; it has now been adopted as a polite
designation by the upper classes.
The two great tribes are the Durranis, the present
ruling tribe, and the Ghilzais, or more correctly Ghalzais
(termed Ghilji by Bellew), both of which are referred to
below. These tribes may be roughly described as in-
habiting eastern and southern Afghanistan respectively.
To the north of the Hindu Kush the population is mainly
Uzbeg; the heart of the country is inhabited by Mongol
Hazaras, Taimani and Chahar Aimak, and the Herat
province by Aryan Tajiks, while east of Kabul, in Wakhan,
Roshan, and above all Kafiristan, there is an ethnological
collection of peoples of the greatest interest, consisting
of ancient Aryan tribes and broken clans which have
taken refuge in these inaccessible mountain valleys. The
population, of perhaps five millions altogether, may be
divided into two equal classes, of Afghan and non-Afghan
elements. The Afghans themselves favour the theory
that they are descended from scions of the royal house
of Judah who were exiled to these distant mountains, but
this is not believed by any serious student of the subject,
and it is safer to accept the view that the foreign elements
were numerous, and that the Afghans are racially of
Aryan origin and link India to the east with Persia to
the west. The Afghans and Uzbegs are Sunnis, whereas
the Persian element and the Hazaras are Shias. More-
over, Pashtu being rather a dialect than a language, the
written language and literature are Persian, which is
spoken by all Afghans of consideration.
The Province of Kandahar.—Our  attention  is   now
1 Pashtu or Pakhtu is the name of the language. The people are called Pashttln
or Pakhttta in tbe singular. The plural of this, Pashtana or Pakhtana, has given rise
to the form Pathan.                                                                                               *